In the Midwest they have a lovely tradition of calling jello desserts salads. This is to allow you to eat more sweet stuff and pretend that you are practicing healthy eating. “Well, I had four salads….so I can afford a little pie…”
So, if you are looking for a lettuce and celery salad you should probably go ahead and click out now because once you start reading you are gonna want to make this salad…and it won’t be something you can just walk away from. You will be committed.
I was not totally happy with the color but the flavor? Yummy. Cherry, Dr Pepper, pineapple, pecans, cream cheese….dang. What’s not to like?
The thing is there is a reason these salads are classic fare at potlucks and church suppers, family reunions and summer picnics. They are good. And easy. Don’t forget easy. You can find these types of recipes in almost every cookbook published before 1965. I think my mom had a different Jello salad for every day of the week. Lime with cottage cheese, strawberry with bananas on top…the list went on and on.
When you hit a family reunion there was gonna be at least three or four Jello salads. You could count on it like you could count on someone drinking a bit too much, a competitive softball game (talk about sibling rivalry!), or one of the aunts offending one of her sisters and there being a bit of a brouhaha. As kids we didn’t notice it, and as teenagers we just laughed. It was, after all, tradition. There was always the Jello to sweeten things up.
Sometime in the late 60s or early 70s Jello became just a jiggly dessert for kids. Maybe it had to do with Julia Child, or maybe it had to do with just the whole anti-establishment but Jello fell out of favor. It wasn’t cool. Some of us still secretly created the congealed salads of our childhoods but it required pulling the shades and locking the doors.
Well…I am almost 51 and I am past the point of caring what people think about anything. I think I am reaching the time in my life where I get to be ….eccentric. I can eat Jello salad anytime I want. I have paid my dues with eating the “in” foods. You can have whatever the cool foodie food of the week is…Just pass me the Jello salad.
Serve this on a bed of lettuce with a dollop of sour cream, whipped cream, creme fraiche, or even yogurt. Just a little something to add color. I like creme fraiche the best. It balances the sweetness with a little tang.
Recipe: Dr Pepper Jello Salad
Summary: A sweet, unusual side dish made with Dr Pepper
- 2 4 serving size boxes cherry Jello
- 1 c boiling water
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 c crushed pineapple (not drained)
- 12 oz. Dr Pepper
- 1 c chopped pecans
- 1 cup marshmallows, optional
- Mix boiling water, jello, and cream cheese in a blender and process until smooth.
- Pour into a large bowl. Mix in Dr Pepper, pineapple, and pecans.
- Chill overnight.
- Serve with a little whipped cream, creme fraiche, or yogurt.
Cooking time (duration): 10 minutes
Number of servings (yield): 8
Meal type: supper
Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)